Q&A With NPR.org’s Eric Athas

Boston on the day after the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo by Eric Athas.

Boston on the day after the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo by Eric Athas.

Eric Athas, a 2008 graduate of the UMass journalism program and a Digital News Specialist with NPR.org working out of Boston shared his thoughts today:
1. Where were you when the bombings occurred?
I was working in our offices, which are more than a mile away from the site of the bombings.
I stepped out to get a coffee when my sister, who also works in Boston, sent me this text message: “What happened at the marathon do you know?” I opened Twitter on my phone and immediately realized how bad things were. I left the cafe and headed back to the office.
On my way I passed by a firefighter who was already gearing up. He yelled to another firefighter, “There was a terrorist attack, let’s go!” Everything became real at that moment.
2. What were your first reactions?  Were you working?
My first reaction was, Who do I know who might be at the marathon and are they okay? Fortunately, friends and family are safe.
Later in the day I went to WBUR and helped with their social media coverage. If you haven’t visited WBUR.org, you should. They are doing an outstanding job covering this story, both on-air and online.
3.  How have you viewed the coverage?  Have you used social media?
When I returned to the office after first hearing the news, I watched television news while scanning Twitter. I already follow a strong set of local sources who I’m familiar with so I had a reliable stream of information to watch.
4. What are your thoughts today?
Of course there are so many questions right now about how this happened and who’s responsible. But I think the victims and their families are in everyone’s thoughts today.

About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing amherstwire.com, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at washingtonpost.com. He also edits part-time for espn.com with the NFL and college football network.
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